So, this week I’ve been waxing nostalgic.
Two friends at Yahoo! are both hitting their 10 year anniversary working here. It’s hard to believe that someone could be working at an internet company that long. But then I instantly think about myself. I’m close to my 7 1/2 years mark here at Yahoo! I did the math the other day and realized that only 150 people are left that have been here longer than me – out of a company of almost 11,000 people. wow!
When I bumped into one of those friends last week, we chatted a lot about how you successfully can manage an organization of this size. How do you set up a structure that supports doing all the things we want to do in a high quality way. How do you make sure that folks are all marching the same direction and that there aren’t 3 teams working on the same thing (My Web, Delicious and Y! Bookmarks for example). How do you make sure that we’re using our resources efficiently and focusing on the things that really matter. But how do you organize in a way that doesn’t get in the way of progress?
One of the things that I like most about Yahoo is that we are always asking ourselves this question. At every stage you have growing pains. When Y! added employee #101 it was asked. When they added employee #1001 it was asked, and now we’ve seen employee #10001 and we’re asking.
Trivia Note: Martin Fisher was employee #100 – I don’t know who was employee #101 or #1001 or #10001. If that’s you, let me know.
I say it alot to people who know me, but since I’ve been working here at Yahoo, I feel like I’ve worked for many different companies. The challenges have changed, but more interestingly, the culture, the size, and the way to succeed has changed immensely. Reminds me of that old saying “what got you here [to this level of success] isn’t necessarily what’ll get you to the next level”.
I’m not sure if Yahoo will ever see employee #100,001, but I’m looking forward to seeing how we grow, what new areas that get tackled, where we stumble, where we fail, where we win, where we really kick ass. And more importantly, I keep learning something new every day…
My last day with Yahoo! will be next Tuesday, after 6.5 years. I think I was employee 18XX or something. But in the London office, where I spent all of those 6.5 years, there are only three people left who have been there longer than me.
One of the main reasons why I am leaving is that I am not sure Yahoo! has found any answers to those organisational questions. It may ask itself constantly. “How do we organise for 10,000 people?” or “How do we organise for an increasingly complex global business?”. But the only answer it seems to come up with is “Let’s do a matrix”.
For anybody who has not read it, I recommend the recent survey in The Economist on the new organisation. If you know Yahoo! you will recognise how far it may be behind the times.
I was about #203.
I left when it stopped feeling like a fast moving start up and started feeling like a big company. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I was told by my newly hired manager that if I didn’t hire x more people by the end of the quarter (despite the fact that we didn’t have enough engineering to support the people and products we already had) his group would lose the headcount and he wanted his group to be bigger than Doug’s group.
>> How do you make sure that folks are all marching the same direction and that there aren’t 3 teams working on the same thing (My Web, Delicious and Y! Bookmarks for example).
So Y! has asked the question – but doesn’t really seem like we’ve made an attempt to answer it. Is there any planned Y! consolidation coming?